Friday, 4 October 2013

Moving, and a Museum

Hard as it is to believe, this week we are leaving the house next door to the honey factory. A few weeks ago, I tasted this summer's honey, and it was delicious. Sadly, I'll no longer be able to crack jokes about life being sweet when you live next door to the honey factory...

When I first came here two and a half years ago, this house was just perfect for me. But now there's a fisherman who's been known to clomp in trailing seaweed from his wellies, dripping bloody saltwater from a plastic bag full of freshly cleaned fish while I'm in the middle of editing a book, or on a Skype call to a client; now there's a half-Labrador sprawling herself across the sofa. Life has not stood still, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

I've been keeping an eye out for a bigger place for the last year, but nothing felt quite good enough to draw me away from the pleasures of living in the middle of nowhere, with no noise outside at night that isn't a bird or insect, and no lights to detract from the millions of stars up above. 

Then during the summer, Antonis from Megalo Horio asked me if I'd take some photos of a house he had in the middle of the village and put them online to see if he could find a buyer or tenant. I looked around and thought, hmmm. The problem with the current house is that it's basically all one big room with a mezzanine, and call me a wimp but I don't like being woken up at fisherman o'clock by cigarette smoke. The house in the village still has a view of the sea and hills, but it also has... an office for me. This could make life in the Barclay-Logothetis household rather less frosty on certain days. And being in the middle of Megalo Horio should bring a whole new set of stories.

So we're moving, though in true Tilos style, it's happening slowly, as we have to wait for Yianni the internet technician to return from some travels and connect us up in the new place. I can't complain as I was away the weeks before, in Crete and then Athens.

In fact, Stelios and I went to Athens together, leaving Lisa with her cousin Ari, a German shepherd or 'wolf-dog' who lives with Tilos's well-loved former taxi drivers, Nikos and Toula. Our mission was to see doctors; all those tests I've been having are to investigate why I've miscarried three times in the last two years. We had appointments with a few doctors, to get information and perhaps choose one to go forward with. 

The week was sometimes difficult, of course, but it was an important thing for us to go through as a couple. And we enjoyed relaxing together - something we haven't had time to do all summer, since BC (Before Cantina). We found a room at the lovely Phidias hotel in Thissio, so peaceful you'd hardly know you were in central Athens. 

On the last day I had to give blood in the morning and then prepare for possible investigative surgery in the afternoon, which meant not consuming anything all day until we saw the doctor. I am not good at being hungry and thirsty, especially when nervous. While wandering around Athens looking for distractions, we came across a museum of folk art/decorative arts; not usually our thing, perhaps, but for 2 euros a person we decided to give it a try. 

Although the museum ( sadly lacked explanations and details of the customs involved, exhibits included local dress from many parts of Greece, including Tilos. Most fascinating for me were the elaborate, heavy, metalwork of the women's head-dresses, some originating from the Dodecanese, and the intricate carving of everyday objects like distaffs for weaving. 


There was also a whole section devoted to one of my favourite Greek artists, Theofilos, who painted everyone with a smile and a moustache.

The last doctor we saw - with a moustache but not much of a smile - definitely wasn't for me, so I didn't have the surgery with him after all. He showed a bizarre lack of understanding of what it might be like for a woman to be still crazily trying to have a child at the age of 44. At least he provided me with a nice emotional opening to a story I've just drafted this morning, which the Daily Mail have expressed interest in publishing (fingers crossed).

It's very windy outside today, but brilliant sunshine, and the first rain of autumn on Monday has made everything feel fresh and alive. Time to go and walk the lovely half-Labrador Lisa, and maybe pack or unpack some boxes. 


PS We just walked my bike up to the new house - Lisa is delighted that it's no longer 35 degrees outside - and found a lovely welcome note from a reader who's in Tilos this week. Thank you! Here are some more photos of/from the new house... That's a lemon tree in the courtyard!


  1. Looks good Jen. Great you are thinking of a new story - not so great that it is Daily Mail who have expressed interest - they are not flavour of the month amongst many of us in Blighty at the moment.....
    Sue Pigden

    1. Ah, I thought I saw something about that - will have to find out more!